While the Jan. 27 electric rate case ruling from the Missouri Public Service Commission will increase the bills of the average residential customer by about $6 monthly, AmerenUE’s customers still pay rates that are almost 38 percent below the national average. Nevertheless, the company realizes any increase is tough for some customers and has some suggestions for those who have difficulty paying their bills.
Customers who are behind on payments or have difficulty paying on time may call UE at 1 800-552-7583 to arrange a payment plan or request information on energy assistance.
Missouri’s largest private energy assistance program is UE’s Dollar More Program, funded by voluntary contributions from customers and the company. The funds are all allocated by Ameren’s partner and the program’s administrator, United Way of Greater St. Louis, to a network of social services agencies throughout the company’s service area. Since it was founded in 1982, nearly $28 million has been raised to help more than 130,000 families. For more information on how to receive Dollar More funds, call the United Way at 2-1-1 or visit www.211missouri.org.
For more predictability in bills, customers can turn to Budget Billing, which allows residential customers to pay the same amount each month. By enrolling now, customers can begin leveling out their monthly payments. The plan allows customers to pay an average monthly bill amount based on the past 12 months of usage. Eligible customers may enroll in the program or drop out at any time. There is no cost to enroll in Budget Billing.
Budget Billing helps eliminate those seasonal variations in utility bills with regular and predictable payments. In addition, many customers save time and money by combining Budget Billing with one of UE’s payment options—direct payment online, electronic check, or credit or debit card payments. Customers may enroll in Budget Billing and get information about payment options by visiting Ameren’s Web site (www.ameren.com).
To save money through more efficient use of energy, customers can visit www.ameren.com/EnergyEfficiency. A good place to begin saving is by using caulk and weather stripping to block drafts. Furnaces and flues should be inspected and cleaned annually by a heating system professional. Another way to save money is by setting the water heater temperature at 120 degrees Fahrenheit or on “low.” Using this setting can reduce annual energy costs by 3 to 5 percent. Hot water usage can be reduced by using cold or warm water in the washing machine, a step that saves money and can extend the life of clothing.
“We recognize that in today’s difficult economy no one wants to pay higher electric rates,” said Thomas R. Voss, AmerenUE president and chief executive officer. “In the best interest of our customers, we are willing to work with them to find solutions to their billing needs. At AmerenUE, we pledge to connect Missouri by providing reliable power, dedicated customer service and vision for a sustainable future.”
With 1.2 million customers, AmerenUE is Missouri’s largest electric company and third largest provider of natural gas. Ameren, through its operating companies, serves 2.4 million electric and 1 million natural gas customers in a 64,000-square-mile area of Illinois and Missouri.
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CONTACT: Susan Gallagher, 314.554.2175, of AmerenUE